Saturday, December 14, 2019

2019/12/14 MeetUp Nipomo Mesa Stroll

The Weather App predicted a blustery wind warning, but we were not to be deterred.

Traveling up highway 101 from Santa Barbara I saw a flying fish cloud in the sky
and knew it was a sign I was on my way to an adventure.

A dozen people met up in Nipomo to stroll around the manicured trails that cross through the housing areas and then to venture forth out onto the upper undeveloped edge of the Nipomo Mesa.

We traveled 8.92 miles in 2:44 hours.

The ride was led by Stormy and Pico who are locals. They are endurance riders, but graciously slowed down to a walking pace to escort us through the trails they usually whiz through at Arabian speed.

Tobe Mule and I were glad to be followers today, I could just sit back and enjoy being escorted. Being only my 4th ride in a year, I'm happy to go anywhere as long as I am riding!

So excited, my hair was on fire!
What used to be wild grassy scrubland and forests of eucalyptus trees has been tamed into a bedroom community with vanity vineyards in front yards. But alongside the streets run equestrian and bicycle paths.
It is very Disney, very manicured, but a nice landscape to walk through with a group.
In between the houses are many vineyards, quite overgrown and dormant now in the winter weather.

The sandy paths are well maintained, and frequently ridden by community members.

We had a fine assortment of equines in the group.
Three Mules, a Gypsy Vanner, an Arabian, a Rocky Mountain, some Quarter Horses and two Mustangs.
THIS is what this MeetUp is all about.
Friends old and new, taking a walk on their various animals, safety in numbers and good companionship all around.

I especially enjoy riding through the 100-year-old stands of eucalyptus.

We saw not a single bicyclist on their dedicated lanes.

They are really working hard to designate areas for equestrians, walkers, and bicyclists.

At corners where trails and streets meet the signage and fencing is well done.

It is very calming to be able to access dedicated equestrian pathways, knowing that cars and bicycles are not a hazard to anticipate.
Looking out toward the West across Hwy 1 the land slopes away to the Pacific Ocean, and here the wind really picked up.

We passed a water reclamation facility, a Poop Pond, host to many ducks.
Then finally it was time to head out into the bit of wild that is left, the ridge of the Nipomo Mesa as yet undeveloped. Just a few decades ago this what all this land looked like.

Now the Mesa looks down on cultivated agricultural fields stretching to the horizon.
Taking a panoramic photo from the back of a mule is not easy, but fortunately Tobe Mule was obliging and stood quietly as we looked out over the landscape.
Then it was time to head back to the starting point, as the wind picked up even more.

I like my shadow; it reminds me that I exist. 

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle."
-Winston Churchill.